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'Pans Tellers' telling tales ..

Tim Porteous Marshalls 'Pans Tellers'

abstracted from Tim Porteous report at the Scottish Story Telling Centre's website ...

"The Battle of Prestonpans was a brief moment in the history of this small but ancient town of ours. Yet it has left the town with tales of heroism, tragedy, betrayal and sacrifice. Recently the town has been experiencing a cultural revival in which storytelling is playing a central part. This is in no small way thanks to the Prestonpans Battle Trust, which among other things asked me to lead some storytelling workshops in August and September with the aim of encouraging local people to get actively involved in telling the tales of the town.

The workshops drew on the interests and knowledge of local people, and helped develop their skills and confidence in storytelling. The stories were not only of the battle itself, but of people affected, directly or indirectly, by the events it influenced.

While Prestonpans may not have the atmosphere of Culloden, it has something that many battlefield sites do not have - a thriving and active community. And although parts of the battlefield are now dominated by housing, it still has many ancient remnants which directly connect us to events of times long past. And so telling tales in The Pans makes stories relevant and alive. Quite literally, the tales are of events which happened on people's doorsteps or school playground, they really bring history knocking on your door.

The workshops encouraged people to get involved in storytelling at various different levels. The sessions were informal, fun and particularly aimed at those who may have little or no experience of telling stories, but who have an interest in any type of history as well as folklore and legends.

An important element which underpinned the workshops was the promotion of the idea that people could be creators of their culture rather than just consumers of it. These days we are all too often more used to sitting passively in front of a screen and having history and culture created and interpreted for us by someone else. This type of project reversed that process; instead of being passive objects and consumers of mass culture, story tellers became creators and tellers of their own culture.

The project will be linked to the re-enactment which takes place in September. Digital storytelling will be part of the process, and we'll create short video tales which can be used by anyone interested."

If you'd like to get involved, please get in touch with Tim by email linked here at

...... and remember, we're just as interested in story telling about the million other aspects of life in The Pans as in that particular battle that took place hereabouts 265 years ago.

Published Date: September 22nd 2010

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